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Outstanding Dissertation Awards

Photo of Daniel Schoepflin, a 2023 Outstanding Dissertation award winner

Anne Converse Willkomm, Associate Dean of the Graduate College (right) presenting an Outstanding Dissertation Award to Daniel Schoepflin, a PhD student in computer science (left) at Graduate Student Day on June 1, 2023.

Award Overview

The Outstanding Dissertation Awards are presented to doctoral-level students who have written original, innovative dissertations that reflect great research and have or are likely to be disseminated widely and have significant impact on the field and society. This award is open to all doctoral-level students who have achieved candidacy and are expected to complete, defend their dissertation, and graduate in the current academic year (prior to September 7, 2024).

Up to two awards are presented for $750 each.

Nomination Process & Timeline

Faculty and professional staff members are encouraged to nominate eligible graduate and professional students. Students may also self-nominate for this award, but self-nominations must be supported by a faculty member, professional staff member and/or an external supervisor. Only top students in each College or School should be nominated for this award, such that they would be considered the College/School Finalist(s). Students may be nominated for both the Outstanding Dissertation and Research Excellence Award. The Graduate College will confirm the eligibility of the graduate student nominee prior to committee review (i.e. evidence of scheduled or completed oral defense). 

Submissions for the 2023-2024 awards cycle are now closed. The deadline to submit nominations was by 12 p.m. EDT Monday, April 22, 2024.

2023-2024 awardees will be notified and announced on or around May 13, 2024.

Required Materials

  1. Completed Nomination Form - Please see below and prepare your responses in advance as the form will not save a draft.
  2. Self-nominations will require a letter of recommendation or statement from a faculty member, professional staff member, or external supervisor. 
  3. Student’s Personal Statement- Maximum of 2 pages
  4. Student's Resume/CV- Maximum of 2 pages (such as an NSF or NIH biosketch)

Evaluation Criteria

The nomination form will ask the nominee to provide brief but specific examples of each of the following criteria:

  • Originality, Creativity and Significance of Research
  • External Recognition (peer-reviewed papers published, presentations, awards, recognition by professional associations, etc.)
  • Internal Recognition (Drexel awards, standing of the student among peers, etc.)
  • Impact on the Field (through citations, H-index, etc.)

Award Rubric

Award Selection & Distribution

The Graduate College appoints a diverse group of faculty and professional staff representing Drexel's Colleges and Schools to review nominations and select University-level awardees based on the evaluation criteria. Awards are usually distributed each year at a Graduate Student Day awards ceremony and reception. Graduating awardees are also listed in the official Commencement program and may also be recognized during their individual College or School Commencement ceremony.

If you have any questions, please contact the Graduate College at

Visit the Graduate College website for more information about the Graduate Student Excellence Awards.